Dynaflash8

Is hobby interest in pre-WWII cars Dying?

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I've had my 1939 Buick Special 4-door convertible for sale now since January.  So far the dealer doesn't seem to be getting any interest.  He says he gets calls, but I doubt it.  This is a very good car, no rust ever, many NOS parts in the restoration and it won an AACA Senior in 2004.  Yes, it is an old restoration, but it's always been protected.  The top is fairly new and the radiator is just re-cored.  It has the rare stream boards and good rubber stone pads to match.  I'm confused.  It runs as good or better than my other straight 8's.  It's priced at the market and there is good flexibility.  Maybe I should have sold it myself, but I couldn't advertise it like the dealer can and I hate selling cars even though I've done it many times.  I think the interest in Pre-War cars is waning along with my life span and that of many of my friends I've known over the  years.  What do you think.  I've gotten some advice about changing the wheel color or removing the factory fender skirts.  NADA says the skirts add $1,000 to the value of the car and if you've ever bought and restored any that's about half of what it would cost you.  All of this stuff could easily be done by the buyer too.  The car comes with a quart of paint (free).  So, all of you guys are younger than me I suspect.  Do you agree that Millenium's simply aren't interested in the wonderful old straight 8 Buick's anymore.  There was a time when 1936-1941 Buicks were steaming hot.  I have maybe loved mine too long.  Think so? 

Our 1939 Buick 41-C convertible sedan.JPG

Disk Princess.JPG

39 Buick Special 41C one of 714.JPG

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IF IT HASNT SOLD- ALL ABOUT THE PRICE............................................!

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Posted (edited)

Mercer.  It's on market and has good flexibity, but no offers.  The market may be way wrong, but how low can you go for a really good car, with prizes, of which only 724 were built?  The dealer shouldn't care.  He gets his same cut either way.  I've owned this car 34 of the last 49 years (owned it twice with restorer Lewis Jenkins //NC// owning it 15 years in between).  That should be a good recommendation too.  The ONLY reason it is for sale is I made the decision to start cutting back at 80 and I wanted some time to earn some interest on the money before my wife and/or I leave this world.

 

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)

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I’m part of the younger generation of collectors.  I painted my wheels red and, personally, don’t care for skirts.  Not that everybody thinks like me, but I think you are on the something there.  

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Earl,

 

Your car is a nice car. As you know, I personally don't like 1939 Buick styling nearly as much as 1937 or 1938 Buick styling. As much as you love the fender skirts, most people younger than you, who are your potential market,  would prefer the look of your car without the skirts on it. Your car is a nice car but the price is higher than most people who currently collect this era of car are interested in paying. There are more people interested in driving them on tours than showing them at shows currently. A nice driver example at an appropriate price would be easier to sell. Your dealer is advertising it on Ebay. Ebay buyers are typically looking for a bargain, not a nice and more expensive show car. You would probably have better luck with that particular car with either a dealer like Matt Harwood, or else sending it to the RM auction, or a similar auction venue.   

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Well your car is fantastic. I love 39s and yours is as rare as you say.

I have seen it listed on ebay with an opening bid of 30k, but not meeting reserve. Not how I list cars..............

makes it very hard for a person to make a bid.

 

I understand you dont want to go through all of the small things Matt mentioned, but I have to totally agree with him. Matt is a good bit younger and has a feel for the mkt. While I think the skirts are interesting, I agree they are a turnoff.

I also agree with his statement to remove the fog lights. Some small things need to be done and then relisted. Perhaps list it on ebay for 1.00. yes have a reserve, but then you can see what the mkt is really trying to tell you.

Auctions dont work well when they are started with too high of a ceiling price.

 

Regarding millennial, they are not your target market. They are interested in far newer cars and very few have strong disposable income. Your mkt should be a guy between 40-60 yrs of age.

I know this is MY opinion. FYI I am 59 years old and the exception- I love brass cars!!!!!!!

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I know for me that I would not want to purchase a car that was already restored or kept in nearly perfect condition. I guess this would be desirable to a collector but to me hobby means I need to be working on it. Also the price of completed cars is far beyond the ability of many people to afford. 

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I'm 68, and started in the hobby when I was ten years old, the 1937-1942 era cars just never caught my interest, with the exception of 1939-40 Ford Coupes with Deluxe trim. Free advice on your yellow Buick would tp remove those driving lights and box then in the trunk, same with the rear fender skirts. Have some computer wiz photoshop different color wheels, and see how that changes the look. Bob 

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Market is smaller as the number of people who want that era car is not what it used to be.  When you see Mustangs, Camaros and Chevelles bringing over $100k you kind of get where the interest is today.  Great prewar cars can bring dollars too but the number and type that fit that category is smaller and the collector more finicky about the purchase they make.   It’s a harsh reality to face but just like a lot of other collectibles the market sets the price.

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The question about whether interest in pre-WWII cars is dying has a connection to the recent report from the Classic Car Club of America that states, "...the membership continues to suffer attrition owing to the aging and passing of larger numbers of members."

 

I think it is agreed that if a well established organization as the CCCA is seeing a drop in membership, and considering the majority of cars recognized by the club are pr-WWII, a correlation can be made to reduced interest in vehicles of this vintage.

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Very nice car. Personally I would not change anything on the car, any interested buyer knows the fog lights, skirts and spot light are accessories which can be deleted if so desired, and repainting a set of wheerls is cheap. While a Phaeton is normally a very desireable model, this year was not Buick's best style, the rather odd nose and visually under-sized grill being it's main detraction. Indeed cars of most makes 1938-1948 suffered from styling challenges as the industry transitioned between full fendered cars of the early 30's to the bathtubs of the late 40's. I agree with others that your market audience for this car is smaller than for some other cars (2 doors, convertibles, other years/makes, drivers versus show cars, etc) so that needs to be reflected in price. Matt Harwood seems to have a sound reputation at moving quality cars, perhaps contact him privately for an opinion. 

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The market is shrinking but that car should find a buyer.  I'm gonna guess price,  followed by colors are making it harder to sell a car.   I sold two cars last year.  One was more desirable but an older restoration,  that took 4 months.   One was less desirable but pristine,  that took 3 weeks.

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My best guess is price.

 

As a sidenote: I like your car the way it is, but I saw the comment about the fender skirts and while period they are not for everyone, nor are the Trippe Lights (which in my opinion are a little too large for the car's scale, all be it I do like an accessory light for night driving).  

 

As to color - I would rather see yellow 100 times over than seeing green, but there was a yellow 1935 Auburn 851 Supercharged Phaeton that sold  un-explainably (other than we all caught it had 5K of unauthentic bolts on it and carpet instead of a mat on front floor)  sell for 100,800 after commissions and many people were expecting the car to do minimum 170K and possibly bridge over 200K to upwards of 225K  (https://rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/am19/amelia-island/lots/r0010-1935-auburn-eight-supercharged-phaeton/725457 ). 

 

Also, January is not all that long of time.  We have had a 40 Lincoln Continental Convertible for sale for a  longer period of time via SignificantCars.com  and yes I very much do understand the 1941 Cadillac and 1940's Lincoln market. That being said, when when the right buyer comes along they will know it when they see it and get a truly fabulous car. 

 

By the way, everyone that I know with a Mustang, Camaro, or .. that sells for over 100K to have everyone says how strong that is - the owner doing the restoration has lost money as they have far over that in the car to begin with (the second fellow tends to be the one who makes a better profit). 

 

 

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Body style does not appeal to the younger buyers. Hot rods/customs/street rods or lowered down nice original cars is where the younger crowd is. Your Buick is beautiful, just a ever changing market place. I got more interest in my 47 Hudson convertible with a 308 Hudson engine in it, instead of the Hemi engine. So might just swap it out, and sell it as a convertible project with a Twin H 308, three speed O/D transmission. And put the Hemi in something else. Convertible sedans are tough. When you look at the buying power of the money it would take to purchase your Buick. That same money can buy a lot different makes/models of cars. What is hot, what is not, location, color, body style, condition and price. Is what every car faces when it hits the market. Your dad drove an old Buick, the cool guy down the road drove a Mustang. Image is everything, good thing Hudson's do not have a sleeper image. man I should sell my Hudson's.:lol:  image.jpeg.ecd16e3550679872fca5c5643bf2f845.jpeg

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I always hear that convertible sedans are tough sells - until someone buys one and then they swear by them forever as they are pretty ideal convertibles - everyone gets to sit comfortably inside and top goes down. 

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The market isn't dying, but is is shrinking and will continue to due so. I'm a Gen Xer who loves these things.

 

I have a suggestion for people who have cars like this and want to sell them: If you want to help keep interest in Pre-War cars alive, don't make your goal about getting the most for your car. Focus on finding a buyer who has a genuine passion for it and give them a great deal. They will likely need the extra funds to maintain the car and will feel better about future deprecation.

 

If I was at the AACA, I would create a program for Prewar car adoption. It would work something like this: a member donates a car, or sells it to the AACA at a very low price. The AACA takes applications from potential buyers who will pay a still very low price. Applicants will be vetted based on their ability to maintain the car and keep it in the public eye. Having a solid social media presence is the sort of thing that would be important because it would get Prewar cars in front of a larger, younger audience. And, the person promoting the car would be someone younger with credibility among their peers. If this car was $25,000, the AACA would have a line of people interested who would do the car justice. Have the buyer give the right-of-first-refusal to the AACA for a fixed period to insure they don't flip it.

 

What do we accomplish? The original owner gets some value through a tax deduction and they invest in the hobby in a meaningful way. The car gets an active life and the hobby gets more exposure.

 

 

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2 hours ago, barry22 said:

I think it is agreed that if a well established organization as the CCCA is seeing a drop in membership, and considering the majority of cars recognized by the club are pr-WWII, a correlation can be made to reduced interest in vehicles of this vintage.

1

 

There has been a lot of discussion re the CCCA and its elitist "country club" attitude so I'm not surprised that it is losing membership. I gave up on them 30 years ago and regardless off what I may get in the future have no interest in the club (but not the cars). The aging of the membership probably has something to do with that but the cars aren't going away and the last time I looked there were no CCCA classics in the local junkyard. The market is changing but that doesn't spell the end of interest in earlier cars. It just means that many people will not be able to sell them for what they think they ought to bring. For my part, I have no interest at all in post-war cars and not much interest in cars from the 30s... and I was born long after the cars I do like were in everyday use so no one can say I have an emotional attachment to them. There are a lot of factors at work here but I think that a serious readjustment of perceived value is in order.

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, Buick64C said:

The market isn't dying, but is is shrinking and will continue to due so. I'm a Gen Xer who loves these things.

 

I have a suggestion for people who have cars like this and want to sell them: If you want to help keep interest in Pre-War cars alive, don't make your goal about getting the most for your car. Focus on finding a buyer who has a genuine passion for it and give them a great deal. They will likely need the extra funds to maintain the car and will feel better about future deprecation.

 

If I was at the AACA, I would create a program for Prewar car adoption. It would work something like this: a member donates a car, or sells it to the AACA at a very low price. The AACA takes applications from potential buyers who will pay a still very low price. Applicants will be vetted based on their ability to maintain the car and keep it in the public eye. Having a solid social media presence is the sort of thing that would be important because it would get Prewar cars in front of a larger, younger audience. And, the person promoting the car would be someone younger with credibility among their peers. If this car was $25,000, the AACA would have a line of people interested who would do the car justice. Have the buyer give the right-of-first-refusal to the AACA for a fixed period to insure they don't flip it.

 

What do we accomplish? The original owner gets some value through a tax deduction and they invest in the hobby in a meaningful way. The car gets an active life and the hobby gets more exposure.

 

 

 

 

 You had me right up to the "solid social media presence " line. The world does not revolve around the facebook crowd, or the twitter twit's ! Leave social media for the fans of the Kardashian tribe, not old car's. Many mental health professional's identify youth's involvement with social media to have a harmful effect on a number of areas of younger peoples lives and emotional health. It is a leading contributing factor of social anxiety in younger people.

If it takes that sort of "exposure" to spread the news to younger people then the future of the hobby is indeed bleak. I know it's modification of an old line however " Social media, a mile wide and an inch deep.

 

Also , many cars would be quite popular at 1/2 the general market value, not just pre war cars.

 

 

Greg in Canada,... a dedicated old car guy with 0.000 % social media involvement.

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, 1912Staver said:

 

 

 You had me right up to the "solid social media " line. The world does not revolve around the facebook crowd ! Leave social media for the fans of the Kardashian tribe, not old car's.

If it takes that sort of "exposure" to spread the news to younger people then the future of the hobby is indeed bleak. I know it's modification of an old line however " Social media, a mile wide and an inch deep.

 

Greg in Canada,... a dedicated old car guy with 0.000 % social media involvement.

 

Feel free to keep shuffling chairs on the Titanic.

 

The sentiment you're expressing is part of what will hold this hobby back. The notion that we want young people involved, but  they need to act like old people to be accepted is pure poison. One person with a strong Youtube following could do more for old cars then every member of the AACA combined.

Edited by Buick64C (see edit history)
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1 minute ago, 1912Staver said:

Greg in Canada,... a dedicated old car guy with 0.000 % social media involvement.

This forum is a form of social media. That is why I have said some things about this hobby/industry/trade on this site. And I know it is being watched by law enforcement as well as the media out here, because of what has happened. This industry has turned off 2-3 people, for every one it pulls in out here. Because of what goes on, that no one wants to talk about. Conformity and kool aid do not drive industries forward. Lots of reasons you have diminishing interest.

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From what I have seen there are plenty of old car video's on YouTube and has been for some time. The drifting and Australian style burnout videos seem to be a lot more popular.

 

Greg

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8 minutes ago, 1912Staver said:

 

 

 You had me right up to the "solid social media presence " line. The world does not revolve around the facebook crowd, or the twitter twit's ! Leave social media for the fans of the Kardashian tribe, not old car's. Many mental health professional's identify youth's involvement with social media to have a harmful effect on a number of areas of younger peoples lives and emotional health. It is a leading contributing factor of social anxiety in younger people.

If it takes that sort of "exposure" to spread the news to younger people then the future of the hobby is indeed bleak. I know it's modification of an old line however " Social media, a mile wide and an inch deep.

 

Greg in Canada,... a dedicated old car guy with 0.000 % social media involvement.

THANK YOU! The hobby will be fine without the iPhone people. Bob 

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2 minutes ago, Xander Wildeisen said:

This forum is a form of social media. That is why I have said some things about this hobby/industry/trade on this site. And I know it is being watched by law enforcement as well as the media out here, because of what has happened. This industry has turned off 2-3 people, for every one it pulls in out here. Because of what goes on, that no one wants to talk about. Conformity and kool aid do not drive industries forward. Lots of reasons you have diminishing interest.

 

 

This forum may well technically be " social media" however I suspect very few typical mainstream social media users would see it in that light.

 

Greg

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4 hours ago, 39BuickEight said:

I’m part of the younger generation of collectors.  I painted my wheels red and, personally, don’t care for skirts.  Not that everybody thinks like me, but I think you are on the something there.  

Did you re-stripe the wheels?  The Buick Official Chassis Parts book states red wheels weren't available in 1939, so I didn't paint them red back in 1980.  Lewis Jenkins told me later that he learned through some kind of dealer correspondence from Buick that they became available in May or June of 1939.  That's find, but I wasn't going back to do them over.  And he didn't know what color the wheel stripes were on red wheels.  They were either silver or cream I'm sure.  I'd have painted the stripes the same as 1938 or 1940 and it would have been close enough.  I've already said how I feel about skirts.  In my Generation (1950s/early 1960s teenagers) you put any kind of skirts on the car that would fit.  These are genuine factory skirts just like those used on 1940 Fords and other cars of the 1936-1949-plus period.).  Skirts were, however, optional as they were, for example, in 1941.  This is a picture of my Roadmaster just before leaving the restoration shop.  I wouldn't own a '41 without skirts.  I mean, too, if the buyer doesn't like them he/she can take them off and sell them for $600-1,000, right?  The reason my blue car doesn't have them or any other accessories is that I've restored it to be exactly like my first car; otherwise it would have them and I'd put the Trippe Lights on my blue car before the yellow one goes.

41 Buick repaint 82 Finished 2.jpg

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4 hours ago, MCHinson said:

Earl,

 

Your car is a nice car. As you know, I personally don't like 1939 Buick styling nearly as much as 1937 or 1938 Buick styling. As much as you love the fender skirts, most people younger than you, who are your potential market,  would prefer the look of your car without the skirts on it. Your car is a nice car but the price is higher than most people who currently collect this era of car are interested in paying. There are more people interested in driving them on tours than showing them at shows currently. A nice driver example at an appropriate price would be easier to sell. Your dealer is advertising it on Ebay. Ebay buyers are typically looking for a bargain, not a nice and more expensive show car. You would probably have better luck with that particular car with either a dealer like Matt Harwood, or else sending it to the RM auction, or a similar auction venue.   

Matt Harwood is too far away from me (1) and he, too, wants to change the car.  As for Ebay it starts at super low price with no bidders (2)  This isn't a sedan, or even a coupe.  It is a very, very rare convertible sedan.  By the way, he advertises on eBay to get people to call. He doesn't expect to sell his cars on eBay.

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